Calisto extends contract, talks new ambitions

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National football team head coach Henrique Calisto signed a contract with Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) in Hanoi on Thursday, extending his stay at the national team for another three years.

Alongside the new contract, Calisto said he and VFF have new ambitions, but he said concerted efforts would be required to meet the country's expectations.

On March 31, 2007, Calisto signed a three-year contract with VFF and the Portuguese tactician helped Vietnam's national team win the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup trophy in 2008 and helped the Under-23 squad come in second at the 25th South East Asian Games in Laos last December.

Asked if he feels more pressure now than when he signed three years ago, Calisto said pressure motivated coaches to achieve their goals.

"I feel pressure, but I have no illusions. I don't expect wins all the time. But I have dreams."

Asked if he thought VFF expects more by offering him a higher salary (from US$13,000 to about $25,000), Calisto said his salary was not high compared to the salaries of the Thai or Indonesian national team coaches.

"Just compare players' current income with that five years ago," Calisto said. "Perhaps Cong Vinh or Viet Thang make even more than me now."

Asked what he expects from VFF, Calisto said he certainly expected bilateral cooperation to be more productive.

"It doesn't mean we haven't worked effectively the past three years," Calisto said. "But in the next three years, Vietnamese football has new goals, so the cooperation should be closer. VFF needs to have better management."

But Calisto refuted rumors that he and VFF disagreed over a decision that prohibited him from coaching the national team and a club team at the same time.

 "It is not right. We might argue seriously but we came to an agreement in the end. VFF and I share many big ambitions.

"When we have ambitions, we have to work closely together and nobody can consider private interests more important than the interests of the group, by which I mean Vietnamese football or the people of Vietnam."

Asked if it would be possible to achieve the goals of defending AFF Cup title and qualifying for the World Cup 2014 final, Calisto pointed to the development of Vietnamese football over the last few years.

He said that when he signed a contract with VFF three years ago, Vietnam was ranked 155th in the world and now Vietnam is in 114th place.

 "But if we are happy with the achievements, we will fall behind immediately"¦VFF and my job is to improve the national team with each goal."

He said Vietnam should not be like Greece, passing into oblivion after winning the European football championship in 2000.

It will be difficult for Vietnam now because all the other countries in the region want to defeat the AFF defending champs, he said.

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